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Beginning Reading Lesson

“Ehhhh" Goes The Squeaky Door

Lauren Tolleson


Rationale: This lesson teaches children about the short vowel correspondence e=/e/. In order for children to be able to read, they must learn to recognize the spellings that map word pronunciations.  In this lesson, children will learn to recognize, spell, and read words containing short e. They will learn a meaningful representation, (pretending to open a squeaky door), they will spell and read words containing e=/e/ in a Letterbox lesson, and read a decodable book that focuses on the correspondence e=/e/.


Materials: Graphic image of a squeaky door opening (big enough to display in a classroom); cover-up critter for the teacher and one for each child; letterboxes and letter tiles for each child; smartboard with “Write on Phonics” app, list of Letter Box Lesson spelling words on a poster (wet, left, pest, shred, smell, blend, lend, cent, crap, crept, pelt), decodable text: Red gets Fed, and assessment worksheet



1. Say: For us to become expert readers, we need to learn the secret alphabetic code that tells us how to pronounce words. Remember we have already the short vowel a with our crying baby Andy. Today we are going to learn about short e, which sounds like an old creaky door opening. “Ehhhhhhh, the creaky door is opening!” (Show graphic image and practice saying “ehhhh” while pretending to open the creaky door).


2. Say: Now that we know what sound short e makes, we need to listen for it in some words. When I listen for /e/ in words, I heard e say “ehhhh”, and I open my mouth up like this. (Model making the vocal gesture for /e/). Now let’s listen for /e/ in some words. First, I’ll show you how I listen for /e/ in the word bet. When I say bet I hear “ehh”.I heard e say “ehhh” and I felt my mouth open and my lips go back to make the sound (show mouth gesture). There is a short e in bet. Now I’m going to see if it’s in the word ________. Hmmmm, I didn’t hear e say “ehhh” and my lips didn’t go back to say “ehhh”. Now you try. If you hear /e/ I want you to say “ehhhh” and pretend you are opening your squeaky door. If you don’t hear /e/ say “I don’t hear ehhhh” Is it in set, fret,


3. Now let’s look at the spelling of /e/ that we will learn today. What if I want to spell the word rest? “I need to lay down and rest.” To spell rest in my letterboxes, I need to know how many sounds I have in the word, so I am going to stretch out the word and count the sounds: /r/ /e/ /s/ /t/. I counted four sounds so I need four boxes. I heard that creaky /e/ just before the /s/ so I am going to put /e/ in the second box. The word starts with a /r/ so I am going to put an r in my first box. To figure out what letters go in the rest of the boxes, I am going to stay it again /r/ /e/ /s/ /t/. I heard a /s/ right after my creaky /e/ so I am going to put it in my third box. The last sound I hear in the word rest is /t/, so I am going to put a t in my last box.


4. Say: Now it is your turn to spell some words in letterboxes. You’ll start out easy with three boxes for the word wet because it has three sounds. Let’s stretch out the word together so we can hear the sounds: wwwweeeetttt. Where do you hear our creaky /e/? (Respond to children’s answers). What sound do you hear at the beginning of the word? I’m going to be coming around to check your spelling (observe progress). Now what sound do you hear at the end of the word? Remember, you can stretch the word out if you need to. Now for our next word, you will need four letterboxes because there will be four sounds in the word. Remember to listen for /e/ in our word. The next word we are going to spell is left. “At this stop sign turn left.” (Allow children to spell word). Now that everybody has spelled his or her word, let’s check to see if you were right. Watch how I spell left in my letterboxes on the board: l-e-f-t. See if you spelled it right! Now, let’s try another work with four boxes. The word this time is pest. “My little brother can be a pest when I am doing my homework.” Stretch the word out and spell the word with your letterboxes (after students are done, have a volunteer spell it in the letterbox on the board to check their work). Repeat this step for each new word: shred, smell, bend, lend, cent. Let’s try another word: crab. “I see a crab at the beach.” Does this word need an e? Why not? Right because we don’t hear e=/e/ “ehhhh” (volunteer spells it on the board). Now let’s try a word with five sounds: crept “I crept up the stairs.”


5. Say: Now we are going to read the words that you spelled, but first I want to show you how you would read a tough word. (Display poster with letterbox words and model reading the word pelt). First I see my creaky e, that says “ehhhh.” I am going to use my cover-up critter to get the first part. (Uncover and smooth blend before the vowel, then blend with the vowel). /p/ /e/=/pe/. Now all I need is the end of the word, /l/ /t/=/lt/. /pe/ + /lt/= /pelt/. Pelt; that’s it! Now I want you to read the rest of the words (have children read all of the words from the letterbox lesson in unison. Afterwards, call on individual students to read the words).


6. Say: I am so proud of the way you all have read the words for our new sound /e/. Now we are gong to read a book called Red Gets Fed. I think we are going to hear our creaky /e/ a lot in this book. This story is about a girl who has a pet named Red. Red wants to get fed, but he has to beg first. Will Red get fed? Let’s read to find out! I want you to read with a partner. One of you read the whole story, then switch and the other person read. I want you to play close attention as your friend reads. If you get stuck on a word, use your cover-up critter to help you figure it out (children read the book to each other as the teacher walks around and monitors progress). After individuals are done reading, the class will reread Red Gets Fed aloud together, and the teacher will stop between pages to discuss the plot.


7. Wow, that was a good story! What happened to Red? That’s right he got fed! Before we finish up with our lesson about creaky /e/. Distribute the worksheet and explain that the students need to complete the words with the letter /e/ and then read the words.






Red Gets Fed- Phonics Readers


Assessment Worksheet:



Haley Wilson, Cool Down with Aaaaahhhh



Door ClipArt


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